Desires and Motivating Reasons

Maria Alvarez

in Kinds of Reasons

Published in print March 2010 | ISBN: 9780199550005
Published online May 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191720239 | DOI:
Desires and Motivating Reasons

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This chapter examines and rejects the idea that desires are motivating reasons, whether we focus on bodily appetites or on rational desires, and whether we think of a desire as what is desired, or as our desiring something. It is argued that what is desired is a goal or purpose for the sake of which someone acts, which can also be the intention in acting, and the starting point in practical reasoning. Thus, what is desired can motivate us to act—but it motivates as a goal rather than as a reason. On the other hand, it is further argued, someone's desiring something is not what motivates that person to act—rather, desiring something is being motivated to act. If this is right, then the question remains what our reasons for acting are, which is answered in the following chapter.

Keywords: desires; Anscombe; reasons; goals; practical reasoning; motivation; mental states; explanation

Chapter.  13767 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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